If there isn't already a McDonald's on every corner in your part of the country, that may change soon.
The fast-food giant announced on Feb. 5 that it plans to open more than 2,100 restaurants all over the world in 2024. Of those openings, about 500 will be located in the United States and McDonald's International Operated Markets (IOM), which include countries like France, Canada, and Australia. The United States and IOM are areas where McDonald's continues to see "strong returns," executive vice president and CFO Ian Borden said during a Feb. 5 earnings call.
The southern and southeastern regions of the United States may be some of the areas where McDonald's is looking to expand this year. McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski noted during a July 2023 earnings call that the company saw a lot of potential for expanding in those areas, where the number of restaurants hasn't kept pace with population growth.
"Our footprint reflects what the population looked like probably 20 or 30 years ago," he said at the time. "So you end up finding there's a number of places around the U.S. where we are significantly underdeveloped relative to where the population exists today, [and] that opens up for us a whole bunch of development opportunities for us to go after."
The big opening push in 2024 is expected to cost the company a pretty penny. Borden said that McDonald's plans to spend between $2.5 billion and $2.7 billion on capital expenditures this year, more than half of which will be funneled toward new restaurant openings in America and its IOM countries.
McDonald's also plans to open more than 1,600 restaurants in its International Developmental Licensed Markets (IDL), which include all remaining markets aside from the United States and its IOM business. Of the IDL openings, about 1,000 are planned to debut in China alone, Borden said. Overall, the company expects to see about 4% growth in its restaurant count in 2024.
These major expansion plans are part of an ambitious growth effort McDonald's is undertaking over the next few years. In December 2023, the company announced that it's aiming to reach 50,000 restaurants worldwide by 2027.
Since there are currently more than 40,000 McDonald's locations throughout the world, this means that we could see a whopping 10,000 units open within just the next few years. This would mark the "fastest period of growth," McDonald's said in a December press release. It will also likely further cement McDonald's spot as one of the world's preeminent fast food chains—and one that contributes a staggering amount to the U.S. economy.
"We have a clear trajectory for future growth as we continue to build on the brand strength, global footprint, and digital ecosystem that have resulted in unparalleled competitive advantages and cemented McDonald's as one of the world's leading consumer-facing brands," Kempczinski said in a December statement.